Miami Marlins should pursue Andrew Bailey to shore up bullpen

USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Bailey isn't the top reliever on the free agency market because he suffered a season-ending injury in 2013, but he is a veteran pitcher who, if healthy, could add pride and promise to the back of the Marlins bullpen.

The number of times the Marlins have expressed interest in acquiring bullpen help this offseason is almost ridiculous. For the most part the Marlins appear to be done with looking for blockbuster deals and marquee free agents, now turning their attention towards improving their bullpen. Having a successful bullpen in the Majors these days isn't about high draft picks or giving up top prospects at midseason, it's more focused on being creative and sometimes looking in unusual places to find hidden talent in pitchers that can come to the Majors and get the job done. Andrew Bailey won't be at the top of any teams list this offseason, mainly because he suffered a season-ending shoulder last year, but he would bring a lot to the back of the Marlins bullpen. If the Marlins were to bring in Bailey on a one or two year deal, it would be a slight risk, but it could bring a great reward.

Andrew Bailey, 29, has definitely had his ups and downs in his five years in the Majors. In 2009, he won the American League Rookie of the Year award with the Oakland Athletics, and then followed that season with another solid two years in Oakland. After Bailey was traded to the Red Sox prior to the 2012 season, thumb surgery kept him out until late July. Bailey has always had a problem with staying on the field, he's only pitched in more than 50 games once. In 2013, Bailey appeared to be back on track with the Red Sox, until a shoulder injury around midseason knocked him out for the remainder of the year.

If you look at what Bailey has done when he's been healthy, he could easily be considered one of the premier closers in all of baseball. A nasty cutter paired with an above-average fastball are part of the reason why he has averaged more than one strikeout per inning during his career. At 6'3'' 240, Bailey has an imposing presence on the mound, making a pitcher no hitter should ever be looking forward to see trotting out of the bullpen. It's amazing with all of his injury history that Bailey has already been to two All-Star games in just his five years. Regardless of what team Bailey plays on in 2013, he should be handled with extreme caution and perhaps his pitching coach should work on his arm action with him to prevent future injury.

Bailey's camp has said to be expecting him back from his injury by mid-May and MLB Trade Rumors reported that more than 15 teams have expressed interest in Bailey. If the Marlins were to bring in Bailey on a one-year contract, they could get him at a reasonable price, and if he could regain his full health and strength before the trade deadline, he could be a valuable trading chip. One year at $3-6 million with an option for a second season would probably be a reasonably ideal contract for Bailey to come to Miami, but it would be a tough transition for him to come from a winning team in Boston to the Marlins. If the Marlins had to overpay for Bailey for a one-year contract, I don't think that would be the end of the world. Overall, Andrew Bailey makes a lot of sense for the Marlins and I would be thrilled if he was in a Marlins uniform for the upcoming season.

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